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It has taken 10 years, but organisers are now approached by artists who want to perform instead of having to cajole them into appearing at the Darling Voorkamerfest.
The annual arts festival was originally started to give Darling residents exposure to visual art, poetry, theatre, dance and music that their little town never experiences, but it has grown into something more.
Not only is it a job opportunity as it provides business for the outlying bed and breakfast establishments and restaurants in the region, but thousands of people come into a town they’d normally just drive through.
Festival co-organiser Omnia Grobler says the locals are starting to realise the positive effects of the arts as they bring money into the town and change how the locals look at themselves.
“A few of the locals who were involved in productions have met producers from Holland and ended up performing there as well. There’s a growing trend among the young people to get involved.
“In the past couple of years the (Darling) Trust has run a talent show and there’s a wider interest because we are starting to see them do classical music and jazz. It’s broadening their horizons,” said Grobler.
Performance artist and firedancer Lanel van der Kolff of the Psychedelic Theatre will this year offer a workshop for Darling schoolchildren.
Happening over the first weekend of next month in the small West Coast town, the festival boasts a line-up of local and inter- national musicians and artists who will provide music, comedy, theatre and art in the living rooms of local residents.
There are seven routes in all, with three performances on each route.
Grobler said they tried to vary the performances on each route so that audiences experienced a little bit of everything.
Last year they started a Darling Spring Parade, which will be repeated this year on Saturday at 9.45am along the Main Road towards Evita’s Perron.
In addition to the local horse riders and a float plus other vehicles from the surrounding farms, a Gauteng school orchestra will provide entertainment on the walk through town.
The market next to what used to be the Darling station will open on the Friday afternoon and runs until the Sunday. Visitors will be able to buy food and crafts and watch live performances.
In addition to street performers, the artists will present excerpts from their shows on the Sunday and Darling resident Pieter-Dirk Uys might just be persuaded to put on a show at Evita’s Perron if there are more visitors than can be accommodated on the Voorkamerfest routes.
The tickets to the performances sell out rather quickly, but Grobler pointed out that the organisers were forced to keep the festival on a small scale because ticket prices did not cover the cost of the festival, which survived only thanks to sponsorship.
• Moonlight Serenade:
Pianist Albert Crombrink and soprano Louise Howlett; violinist Anele Mhlahlo and accompanist
; soprano Zanne Stapelberg and pianist Philippus Hugo.
Artists from abroad:
• Dutch singer/songwriter Helge Slikker and singer Marlijn Weerdenburg are the duo Miss Molly and Me.
• Dutch actor, writer and director Peter de Graef presents Straf
• Actor and singer Wil van der Meer presents the work of Noel Coward, accompanied by pianist Hilmar Leujes.
South African artists:
• Native Rhythm are Barry van Zyl and Daniel Bloom.
• Hip hop from Mixed Mense with Emile YX? Jansen.
• Dancers from the Irish dance centre, Cape Celtic Dance Academy.
• Storyteller Marji Geldenhuys.
• Mr Cat and the Jackal have repackaged some of their work for a working trio presentation.
• Nathan Trantraal presents his poetry.
• Cape Town’s original Middle Eastern gypsy fusion band, Ottoman Slap.
• Pieter Bosch Botha presents a shortened version of Fully Committed.
• Bassist Schalk Joubert and percussionist Ronan Skillen.
• Comedienne Shimmy Isaacs.
• AfrodizzyActs bring the circus to town.
• Amampondo founder/leader Dizu Plaatjies.
• Theatre for Africa go big on the storytelling theatre.
THE DARLING VOORKAMERFEST
Friday, September 6 toSunday, September 8
Friday: R195 at 6pm;
Saturday: R225 at noon and 5pm;
Sunday: R225 at noon and 4pm;
Sunday: free at 4pm, artists perform five minutes of their shows at an open-air performance for the community in Darling East.
• Booking is essential: Contact Chanda Barrows at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 082 321 7542.
• Check the websites www.voorkamerfest-darling.co.za or www.darlingtourism.co.za/ accomdetail-01.php or www.darlingtrust.org for more information.